The Big Bang Theory: Season 6
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Big Bang Theory, The: The Complete Sixth Season (DVD)
The CalTech geniuses of The Big Bang Theory return for season six after being thrown for a bell curve in the phenomenally funny fifth season of the hit show. In “TV’s top-rated comedy” (New York Post), Leonard has to “debug” his relationship with Penny once more after accidentally proposing to her in the heat of the moment, while Sheldon, Howard, and Raj continue to discover the feminine mystique is something that cannot be easily graphed or calculated. With even greater personal contact with his not girlfriend but “friend-who-happens-to-be-a-girl” Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon might have to make even more begrudging amendments to his “Relationship Agreement” while Raj continues to look for a girl as nice as Siri, and Howard gets ready for splashdown in both his NASA space travels and wedding to the spirited Bernadette.]]>
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Howard and Bernadette's relationship begins to intensify after the former returns from his NASA space mission; he starts to bond with Bernadette's father while figuring out why his own father left him behind.
While the Leonard/Penny and Sheldon/Amy storylines consume most of the show, it is Raj that seems to grow the most in this season as he goes from essentially the friend in need to having his own lengthy romantic storyline. Although Raj does not get the girl in the need, he conquers his fear of talking to women when he talks to Penny (without the aid of alcohol) in the season finale.
Two episodes stand out. The first is the one where Howard and Sheldon have a dispute over a parking spot at the school; I won't spoil the episode for you, but it is a must watch, and the second is the boys' trip to a sci-fi convention which doesn't go as planned.
The extras are also great - the cast actually communicate with a member of NASA directly from space in one extra which is quite breathtaking.
Which brings me to the "but" part of my review. I have three "buts":
1. Why is it that TBBT writers will always, always go for the gross and disgusting? My partner and I most often watch the show during dinner -- perhaps not the best choice considering that if one of Bernadette's experiments is going to have a side effect, you just know it's going to be icky. Listening to Sheldon describe to the dry cleaner just why his couch cushion needed cleaning after Howard sat on it naked ("The Parking Lot Escalation") almost ruined a lovely spaghetti dinner. In fact, my partner and I have created a TBBT drinking game -- taking a drink every time one of the characters says something gross and/or gratuitous. If we drank actual alcohol we'd be Penny-wasted by the end of most episodes.
2. We love Sheldon. But why do the writers turn him into SUCH a jerk far too often? Using Amy as a human shield ("The Closet Reconfiguration") was way out of line, even for Sheldon. It's one thing for our Top Nerd to be a bad and clueless boyfriend, but when he crosses over into demeaning and humiliating behavior, he's edging into the land of the verbally abusive. Not cool. And not entertaining.
3. Raj needs to stop needing alcohol to talk to women. I'm hoping that the addition of Kate Micucci to the cast in the form of Raj's equally-socially-awkward new girl friend (as in, friend who is a girl, as -- at least at this point in my Season 6 viewing -- they have not officially hooked up) will stop the need-a-flask gimmick once and for all. Kunal Nayyar is a talented comic actor but even he stopped making that "joke" fresh and new several seasons ago.
So -- Three Buts and a Yay. I love this show. I always have and I always will. But my deep affection doesn't keep me from wincing and squirming through about 20% of the writers' choices. I honestly don't know who the show's target audience is. I'm sure I skew much older than the desired demographic but I don't think that's the problem. I like edgy, I can even appreciate a dose of outrageous here and there. But gratuitous gross-outs have never done much for me as entertainment fodder. We viewers, like Amy Farrah Fowler, deserve better.
My wife and I own all the existing seasons on DVD and have watched them from Series 1, Episode 1 all the way through several times... they just never get old. In addition to the often hysterical humor, the developing dynamics between the characters - especially after Bernadette and Amy joined the show - are both funny and often very touching. In particular, the relationship between Leonard and Penny is at times actually quite moving in its sweetness and depth, and you really WANT these two to stay together (they're the loves of each others' lives, despite their differences). Similarly, there are moments of genuine tenderness between Sheldon and Amy which catch you unawares amid the humor.
It's a quirky, original, smart, fun show where you learn to genuinely love and care about the characters, and the script-writing has kept it surprisingly fresh for all these years. If I could pick a single sit-com to take to a desert island, I wouldn't hesitate: Big Bang Theory is my favorite TV comedy of all time. Long may it run.
Since the show has been renewed for another 3 seasons, I really hope that this isn't a sign of deterioration that's only going to get worse - it would be a shame to see this comedic gem flail and ultimately make you wish they'd quit while they were ahead...